How to Dye Play Silks

December 26, 2009

I thought I would make a tutorial for anyone who wanted to dye their own playsilks.  This was a fun and easy way to do it with simple ingredients. 

Things you will need to dye your own playsilks :

Vinegar, Wilton’s Icing Colors, a pot, and some 100% silk scarves. 

I think Wiltons is probably the most colourfast way to do this, I don’t recommend food colouring or Rit dyes as they do not hold their colour as well.

You can get the scarves at Dharma trading or Thai Silks online.

Fill a medium pot with water, put in a spoonfull of the icing dye.

Mix it up until its mostly dissolved.

Wet the silk scarf in the sink then immerse it into the dye bath.

Bring it to a boil until its nice and steamy hot.

You can see how the silk has not absorbed a lot of colour yet.

Push the silk to one side of the pot and pour in a big glug of vinegar.  Try to not pour directly on the silk as it will not dye evenly.

The vinegar helps the silk to take up the dye, see the colour difference now?

Next I put the lid on the pot and turned it down to simmer for 20 minutes.

20 minutes later you can see the colour is quite deep blue now.

There is not a lot of dye left in the water, the silk has absorbed most of it.  Now I leave the pot on the stove to come to room temperature.

Now I pour the silk out into a strainer.

Then rinse with cold water until it runs clear.


This is the red and purple at the end of their dye bath.

I made one in each colour, one pot at a time.  If you wanted a tie-dyed effect you could use string or elastics to tie them up, I just kept mine solid.

Then I put my washing machine on the delicate cycle and filled a small load with hot water.  I put in a cup of vinegar and tossed all the scarves into the wash.  This helps to wash out any leftover dye.  I then put them in the dryer and this is how they turned out.  The golden one on the bottom left I dyed with coffee.  This was a christmas present for my daugter who loves using the silks when she sets up her little toys or plays with her dolls.  They also make great dress up accessories!